Thursday, December 21, 2023

11 - Book Synthesis Bible Study Method

Big Idea: Introduction to a Bible study method synthetic in nature, bringing together the elements we separated by chapter and looking at it as a whole, with better understanding of the parts.

Series note: We are taking 12 weeks to feature summaries of the 12 Bible Study Methods featured in the book by Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life

Our Car’s Engine in Pieces

Early in our marriage, our family car had serious engine trouble. A local garage gave us a good quote for repair.

Getting no word on the car, my husband stopped by the repair shop only to discover our car was suspended on high and all the parts of the engine were spread all over the floor.

The car never ran the same again.

Book Synthesis Bible Study Method

Rick Warren describes the Book Synthesis Method as the third part of the last 2 methods we have looked at (Book Survey and Chapter Analysis). We’ve looked closely at it, took it apart to see its parts and how it fits together. Now we can put it all back together and look at the whole more closely.

It is like taking the car apart and putting it back together with a much greater understanding of how it runs.

The word for synthetic in Greek means “putting together.” It is the opposite of analytic, which means “taking apart.”

It is important in Bible study to always remember its context and see the whole picture.

Simple Steps on doing a Book Synthesis

Please keep your last two chapter’s notes close at hand. You should refer to them often now.

1. Re-read the book. Read it several times in various translations, rapidly. Try to read the whole book in one sitting.

2. Write out a detailed final outline. Compare the horizontal chart you made for the Chapter Survey (lesson 9), and your outline at that time. Compare with your chapter headings from Chapter Analysis.

3 Write down a descriptive book title. From your horizontal chart and your final detailed outline, plus chapter titles, consider an original concise title that describes what the book is about.

4. Make a summary of your insights. Review and compare the concluding thoughts when you look at chapter analysis. List them from reviewing your notes and recent readings.

5. Write out a personal application. Review all the chapter by chapter applications you noted. Also write down any new insights for application that you see. You may want to refer now to Chapter 1 on the Devotional Method.

6. Share the results of your study with others. Bible study should not just be for your own insight and understanding, but also to build others up and have opportunity to share their thoughts with you.

You can find more information and the form for the Book Synthesis Method here.

When I was a teen I went on a Teen Missions, Intl. mission trip to help put up a church building in South America. We were encouraged to memorize this verse.

At last the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city, for the people had worked with enthusiasm. Neh. 4:6.

When we look at the whole of the book of Nehemiah we see the people of God coming back after Exile to rebuild Jerusalem. There was opposition but they worked together and protected each other. They learned where the walls should go and the history of the place. And they accomplished a great work. In the same way, it is hard work to study the Bible. Especially when you do all of this intense work. But it is worth it when you go at it with a will to work.

The webpage has a page on Warren’s Book Synthesis Method including the basic form.  

Here is an online PDF of the book by Rick Warren, Bible Study Methods: 12 ways you can unlock God's Word

Work with enthusiasm in the study of the Bible. It is worth the effort!


Previous: Chapter Analysis Bible Study Method
Up next: Out of Darkness: Christmas Meditation


1. Does the car analogy work for you about taking something apart and putting it back together again with a great understanding how it works? Do you have another illustration from your life experience of something you get to know only when you work with it?

2. How might this understanding of putting the Word of God back together with a better perceptive of the parts make sense to help you know it and appreciate it better for your life?


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